Thursday, September 10, 2020

France will lend Greece two state-of-the-art frigates, French Media report


by GCT
France will lend Greece two state-of-the-art frigates, French Media report

France will lend Greece two state-of-the-art frigates, so that the country can face the current challenges in the Eastern Mediterranean, French media have reported.

According to the media, the issue was discussed during a telephone conversation between Greece’s Minister of National Defence, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos and his French counterpart Florence Parly.

The reports refer to two French FREMM frigates, built respectively as “Alsace” and “Lorraine” in 2019. They are currently in the final stage of testing and have state-of-the-art area air defence systems. The frigates can also reach a maximum speed of 27 knots.

Further, the two ministers also discussed the 18 French Rafale that Greece will be getting as well as the doctrine of defence assistance, which provides for military support from one country to another in the event of military involvement.

The reports have not been confirmed by the Ministry of Defence.

It is recalled Greece’s Finance Minister Christos Staikouras last week said that the country is ready to spend part of its cash reserves to support its armed forces. “The Prime Minister’s mandate is to reduce taxes as much as possible, to be close to the lower classes and to strengthen the the armed forces’ prevention force,” Staikouras said during an interview with Alpha TV.

Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis will travel to French Mediterranean island of Corsica on Thursday at the invitation of French President Emanuel Macron.

According to government sources, they will discuss the broader framework of Greek-French cooperation. It is considered very likely that the agreement on the sale of French weapons (Rafale aircraft and more) will be finalized in the conversation between the two leaders.

The French leader seems to aspire to play a leading role in European affairs and has become Greece’s warmest ally, while also being one of the toughest critics of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.


Contacted by Naval News, the French Ministry of Armed Forces replied: “The Ministry of the Armed Forces has no plans to lease the last two units of the FREMM series to Greece.”

Sunday, September 6, 2020

Donald Trump hopes for election boost from Kosovo-Serbia talks

Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, and Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić
Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, and Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić

White House summit irritates EU diplomats, who say deal brokered by them is near

Shaun Walker Central and eastern Europe correspondent

Thu 3 Sep 2020 The Guardian

The leaders of Kosovo and Serbia will meet at the White House on Thursday and Friday, in an encounter that some see as a push for a diplomatic win for Donald Trump to brandish during his re-election campaign.

Kosovo’s prime minister, Avdullah Hoti, will meet with the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, in talks that Trump aides say will be primarily about economic issues between the two countries, but may pave the way to a broader deal.

The goal of the talks is “to create economic development that will then somehow change the dynamic amongst the political class”, said a senior adviser to Trump in a call with reporters earlier in the week. The adviser said it was not yet clear whether Trump would take part in the meetings – suggesting he would only meet the two leaders if there is a deal to be signed.

Kosovo broke from Serbia after a war and Nato bombing campaign, and declared independence in 2008, but the two sides have no relations.

The White House diplomatic push, led by the Trump loyalist Richard Grenell, has irritated some European diplomats, who say the EU’s long-running mediation process should be given priority.

It has also prompted fears that a land swap could be on the table as part of the deal, which many believe would have knock-on effects in other parts of the Balkans. Grenell has long denied that a land swap is under consideration.

Grenell, who has courted controversy as Trump’s ambassador to Germany and then as acting director of national intelligence, has also attracted criticism for his negotiation tactics. In April, Kosovo’s ousted prime minister Albin Kurti accused Grenell of mounting a coup to overthrow him so he could present Trump with a diplomatic success in an election year. “My government was not overthrown for anything else but simply because Ambassador Grenell was in a hurry to sign an agreement with Serbia,” said Kurti.

A meeting at the White House planned in late June fell apart at the last minute after prosecutors at a court in The Hague announced they had filed a draft indictment against Kosovo’s president, Hashim Thaçi. The statement was released as Thaçi was already en route to Washington.

Now, two months before the US election, the meeting will finally take place, with the emphasis on economic progress.

“We can either sit around and continue talking about political issues that get us nowhere, or we can do something that President Trump thinks might work, and we’re going to test it to see if it works,” said the Trump adviser.

The EU-brokered talks were on hold for two years after Kosovo imposed import tariffs on Serbian goods, but have recently resumed. Meetings in Brussels, including expert dialogue and top-level discussions, are planned for next week.

The EU envoy for Kosovo-Serbia talks, Miroslav Lajčak, has said an EU-brokered deal to normalise relations between Belgrade and Pristina could be ready soon.

“Let’s see how much time we need, but I am speaking about months, I am not speaking about years,” he said at a forum in Slovenia this week. “Both parties are committed, both parties are serious, respecting each other.”

CIA report 1994: The Albanian government is favoring ethnic groups of Albanians from the north, to concentrate in the areas where ethnic Greeks live, a clash that could cost the economic and political stability of Albania ...


In the declassified CIA report, 1994, "ALBANIA'S GREEK MINORITY: POTENTIAL FOR TROUBLE", the CIA analysis states that "there is a strong tendency for the Albanian government to use ethnic Albanian groups to be installed in the south, in areas inhabited by ethnic Greeks, a precedent which could destabilize the whole territory, due to the greed of economic zones and the upset of ethnic balances.

But although the year 1997 Civil War, divided Albania in two, leaving behind about 6 thousand killed, the occupation of economic areas where ethnic Greeks live, especially on the Ionian coast, Vlora - Himara - Saranda - Ksamil, today has brought over population Muslim and Catholic Albanians from the north of Albania, which clearly shows a disturbance of ethnic balances which could cost dearly the political stability of Albania ,,,

During the NATO bombing of the former Yugoslavia in 1997, a wave of ethnic Muslim Albanian refugees from Kosovo concentrated all the way to Vlora, but former Greek Foreign Minister George Papandreou called on the Albanian government not to cross the "Red Line' to install Muslim Albanians in Greek territories. , like Himara or Saranda, .
Rama e Tsipras ranë dakord për pronat në bregdet - Tv Klan

In 2016, there was tension between two Albanian political leaders, Sali Berisha in opposition and Prime Minister Edi Rama, who accused each other of carrying out mass displacement of Albanians to the south of the country. The accusations have recently focused on Parliament, prompting the Greek government to accuse the Albanian side of ethnic cleansing against the Greeks of Himara.

In the years after 1997, the influx of Albanians into the areas of ethnic Greeks has not ended. in 2016, The Greek press and the Tsipras Government accused Tirana government of carrying out ethnic cleansing, influencing with "legal initiatives for mass invasions of the Albanian population towards the historic Greek territories in the south, threatening to block the stabilization process of association with the EU.

Meanwhile, we are in the middle of 2020, the government of Albania has started a process of registration of property titles, which is concentrated in the first area, the Municipality of Himara. According to the official Albanian applications, about 8 thousand properties are to be registered by the ethnic Greeks of Himara (?), while about 8 thousand others are to be registered by Muslim Albanians, adding about 5 thousand properties in state administration, a breakdown of balance terrible a dangerous precedent for ethnic clashes with Albanians and Greeks. The Albanian government has favored Albanian oligarchs to build on properties looted but contested by ethnic Greeks in Himara, but this registration risks failing because the Greek Minority Organization Omonia and the Greek Goverment, will not recognize it.

It is a critical moment for Albania, while an inevitable conflict will be generated in the war between Turkey and Greece, due to the economic zones and the regulation of the national borders, which could erupt for the entire Balkans. The occupation of areas inhabited by ethnic Greeks by Muslim and Catholic Albanians, especially from Kosovo, is a precedent, as the CIA report points out, to destabilize Albania, a report which in the first phase of destabilization in 1997 led to a Civil War, while in the phase that we are experiencing today in 2020, towards the ethnic Greeks, especially in the Ionian coast Vlora - Himare - Saranda - Ksamil, is carrying out ethnic cleansing, occupation of lands with overcrowding of investments with Albanians.
In Albania, live about 300 thousand ethnic Greeks who are forced to live in both Greece and Albania due to the threat from Albanians to seize their lands, especially on the Ionian coast, while the conservative government of Mitsotakis, strangely opened the light green for the opening of Albania-EU negotiations in February 2020, just on the eve of ethnic tensions in Northern Epirus, in the hope that Tirana will recognize the decisions on the AOZ Maritime Economic Zones, with Greece. But this is unlikely to happen, while the situation of the Greeks in southern Albania is more alarming than ever, due to the massive occupation by Albanians, and the tendencies of the two governments to remain silent about this occupation.